Employment (J-1 Students)

Whatever type of employment you are considering, you must first obtain approval from your J-1 Responsible Officer. If UNH is your Program Sponsor, then your J-1 Responsible Officers are members of the OISS staff. If your J-1 Program Sponsor is another agency, you will need to contact them for work permission.


You are eligible for "Student Employment" provided you:

  • hold valid J-1 student status
  • are registered and studying full-time
  • are in good academic standing at the school that your J-1 sponsor has authorized you to attend
  • your J-1 Responsible Officer has approved the specific employment in advance

Limitations: If authorized, you may work a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session. You may work up to 40 hours per week during official school breaks and vacation periods, including summer vacations, provided you are eligible and intend to register for the next school term. The 20-hour-per-week work limit while school is in session applies to and includes all types of "Student Employment."

How to Apply for Work Permission

First you should talk to your J-1 Responsible Officer about why you want or need to work, whether it is advisable, and what type of job would suit you best. If you have unforeseen need, your J-1 Responsible Officer will request a letter from you explaining the circumstances. If your J-1 Responsible Officer agrees that it would be appropriate for you to work, the next step is to obtain a job offer from your employer. You must obtain written permission from your J-1 Responsible Officer before beginning any employment.

Authorization to Work

A Social Security Number: To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security Number. If you do not have one, you must submit an application to the Social Security Administration.

Form I-9, "Employment Eligibility Verification": When you begin working, you and your employer must complete a Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and work authorization.

Employment Available to J-1 Students

Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship: This kind of work is usually performed on-campus, with the school as the employer. In certain circumstances, however, the work can be done elsewhere, for a different employer. You might work in a government or private research laboratory, for example, if your major professor had a joint appointment there, and would be supervising you in work that counted toward your degree.

On-campus jobs unrelated to study: The regulations, in allowing for jobs on campus that are unrelated to study, stipulate only that the work be done on the premises of the school.

Off-campus jobs to meet urgent, unforeseen need: Your J-1 Responsible Officer can authorize you to work off-campus in the Student Employment category only if you have serious and urgent financial need that you did not foresee when you became a J-1 student, or when you enrolled at your current school. Under certain circumstances off-campus work may also be available as Academic Training (AT), a separate category of study-related employment.

Academic Training (AT): AT is flexible in its format and offers a variety of employment opportunities to supplement your academic program in the U.S. It is available before completion of your program of study as well as afterwards. As long as you stay within the stipulated time limits, it lets you work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods; and, under certain circumstances, you may interrupt study to work full-time, for example while you are writing a thesis. J-1 students in non-degree programs are eligible for AT. For more information, contact oiss.advisor@unh.edu.

Summer Employment for Students Transferring from one J-1 Sponsor to Another

If you intend to transfer programs between academic years and would like to work at your former school during the summer, you must delay the transfer procedure until after the period of employment, and must obtain employment authorization from your former school's J-1 Responsible Officer. This will be possible only if your former school's Form DS-2019 remains valid throughout the period of employment.

To work at your new school, you must first complete the transfer procedure and then apply to the J-1 Responsible Officer at your new school for authorization to work. Your new school's form DS-2019 must take effect by the beginning date of your employment authorization.